Iowa Democratic Senate candidate Theresa Greenfield is being criticized by her Democratic rivals for continuing to accept tens of thousands of dollars from corporate lobbyists based in the nation's capital.
Greenfield received at least $17,500 from pharmaceutical lobbyists through the end of June, and continued to take at least $21,650 from about two dozen lobbyists during the third quarter, according to her campaign's most recent filing.
Greenfield had previously pledged not to accept any corporate PAC donations. Greenfield's Democratic opponents view her acceptance of lobbyist money as a loophole to that pledge.
Kimberly Graham, a Des Moines attorney also seeking the nomination, accused Greenfield of hypocrisy.
"It appears Greenfield's campaign has accepted tens of thousands of dollars from lobbyists for Big Pharma, the healthcare industry, and Big Tobacco. Not accepting corporate PAC money is a low bar," Graham said in a statement to the Washington Free Beacon. "Accepting large donations from lobbyists for those corporations seems to be a way to end-run around the ‘no corporate PAC money' pledge."
The Greenfield campaign did not respond to a request for comment about the donations.
Greenfield's opponents have already criticized her for focusing on D.C. special interests at the expense of Iowans. Greenfield, a businesswoman, has attracted the backing of national party leaders. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and EMILY's List, a powerful fundraising group that supports pro-choice candidates, both endorsed Greenfield shortly after she entered the race—decisions that angered her primary rivals.
DSCC's executive director Scott Fairfield made two donations on Sept. 19 totaling $5,600, which is the maximum legal amount he can donate to her campaign. Emily's List president Stephanie Schriock made two donations totaling $1,000. Emily's List has also donated tens of thousands of dollars to her campaign.
A spokesman for the campaign of businessman Eddie Mauro, who is also running for the Democratic nomination, referred the Free Beacon to an October press release that criticized Greenfield for accepting money from corporate special interests.
"Iowans don’t think it's very ‘Iowa Nice' to pull the wool over their eyes like this. They are sick and tired of politicians who don't level with them, and keep playing the same tired political games that sent Joni Ernst to Washington," Mauro said. "Playing the political game where they pretend to stand-up against greed and powerful influences in our politics, but then accept their help with a wink and a nod."
Greenfield, who is looking to unseat Sen. Joni Ernst (R., Iowa), took to Twitter in July to criticize a "broken" political system that has made it "too easy for big corporations to drown out the voices of everyday Iowans." Mauro has said she needs to live up to her rhetoric.
"If Theresa were serious about her ‘No Corporate Money' pledge, she would return those contributions," he said.
Retired Navy admiral Michael Franken, another Democrat seeking the nomination, declined to comment about the donations.